Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

shadows of self recap

The basics

Title: Shadows of Self


Series: Mistborn #5

- The Final Empire (July 2006)
- The Well of Ascension (August 2007)
- The Hero of Ages (October 2008)
- The Alloy of Law (November 2011)
- Shadows of Self (October 2015)
- The Bands of Mourning (January 2016)
- The Lost Metal (2020?)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Fans of Robert Jordan and George RR Martin alike have found a new champion of epic fantasy in Brandon Sanderson. And now, in the first of two sequels to The Alloy Of Law the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn.

It is more than 300 years after the events of the The Final Empire shaped Scadrial. Waxillium Ladrian has returned to the capital city of Elendel from the far flung roughs. Elendel is crisscrossed by canals and railways and towers reach for the sky but this is still a city of dangers and of magic; Allomancy and Feruchemy can still change the world. Wax faces many more adventures.

Here’s our recap of what happened in Shadows of Self. Read on for a full plot summary to refresh your memory!

what happened in Shadows of Self?

  • In the prologue, Wax goes to a saloon to find an outlaw called Granite Joe. Here he meets Lessie, who is also looking for the same outlaw. There’s a shootout. Wax is about to corner Joe, when Lessie aims her crossbow at him. Granite Joe bought Lessie out, and this has been a set up. Then in another twist, Lessie shoots Granite Joe.
  • Moving on, Winsting Innate is planning to auction off his vote. He holds an auction for this. There’s a shootout here as well. Winsting locks himself into his safe room. His bodyguard arrives and tells him everyone is dead upstairs. Someone slits Winsting’s throat from behind.
  • Wax and Steris plan their wedding. Wayne interrupts because the Marksman has made a move. Wax, Wayne and Marasai chase after the Marksman in the slums. Wax gets distracted because one of the people on the street looks like Bloody Tan. Wax goes after this guy instead.
  • Wayne infiltrates a group of men in the slums, pretending to be one of them so they’ll tell him the gossip about the Marksman. Wayne follows one of the men, who leads him to the Marksman. Wayne captures the Marksman.
  • The Marksman gets killed as the trio are leaving the slums. Someone clearly doesn’t want them talking to the Marksman. Marasai then gets taken hostage by this Someone. She shoots him.
  • Constable Reddi arrives. He tells Wax about what happened to Lord Winsting. Wax asks to see the body, and he realises that a Steelrunner must have done this to him.
  • Wayne starts storing up gold for healing.
  • Marasai reads the newspaper and notices there’s a lot of unemployment. She thinks the city is going to collapse.
  • Wax goes to the Village where his grandmother lives. Vwafendal is concerned about mixing Feruchemy and Allomancy. Wax asks her for names of Steelrunners, and she tells him that Idashwy must be involved.
  • Marasi learns that there’s soon going to be a food shortage in Elendel. There’s a press conference in a square, and someone called Rian pulls out a gun on the governor. Marasi slows down time to save him.
  • Wayne goes to find Idashwy and comes across a corpse. He figures that the killer has stolen Idashwy’s abilities. Wayne finds a note that is a quote from Bloody Tan.
  • Wax is driven to the police station by Hoid. He puts in an earring and Harmony is able to speak to him. Harmony tells Wayne that a kandra is pretending to be Bloody Tan and is killing people. Harmony promises to send Wax help. He also says that he made life too easy for humans.
  • Wax talks to Rian, who has a special coin for Wax. It seems to be from his uncle Edwarn. Wax tells Steris about this on the way to Lady ZoBell’s party, which they’re attending together. Wayne and Marasi are also going separately. Wayne is pretending to be a professor, and Marasi his assistant.
  • The group think Bleeder might be at the party, since she has been talking to Wax through his mind. Wax looks around and sees a suspicious looking server, who runs when Wax approaches. Unfortunately, Bleeder escapes, and Wax gives chase.
  • Wax is chased by some guys, but he’s saved by MeLaan, who is the help that Harmony promised. Wax sends MeLaan to make sure Lord Harms is ok. Wax then goes to Lord Harms’ house, where he questions Lord Harms to make sure he’s not Bleeder. He hides Lord Harms in a random tower.
  • Wayne doesn’t think that Wax was chasing the right guy.
  • Father Bin is murdered. Marasi investigates, and sees that he has spikes through his eyes. She tells Aradel that this is to do with Bleeder.
  • MeLaan tells the group that Bleeder is Paalm, one of the best kandra around, as she was one of the Lord Ruler’s kandra. MeLaan says they could pull out her remaining spike so she revers to being a mistwraith. MeLaan has some sort of concoction that, if injected, can make a kandra lose its shape. It can also kill humans, so Wax needs to be careful.
  • MeLaan tells Marasi that he doesn’t agree with the worshipping of the Survivor, since he actually died. Marasi tells MeLaan that the Survivor didn’t die.
  • Wax investigates the coaches. He questions the driver of one of them. He finds bones and a robe, obviously used by Paalm.
  • Aradel asks Marasi to report on Wax, and she agrees.
  • Wax finds Paalm, who tries to make him join her cause. She runs, and Wax follows. He tries to hit her with the syringe, but he misses. Paalm runs without killing the governor, but she leaves a glowing substance behind.
  • This substance is perchwither, which you can only get from the kandra homeland.
  • Wax’s uncle Edwarn arrives.
  • Edward tells Wax that he reminds him of Kelsier’s gang (*cries*). Edward also wants to govern the city, and to do so he’ll need Wax to stop Paalm. He threatens Wax’s sister, so Wax threatens him.
  • Innate meets with the ministers and makes Aradel the head constable, and then he declares martial law. Aradel is unhappy about this.
  • Marasi finds letters in the saferoom which prove corruption. She gives these letters to Aradel.
  • MeLaan talks to Wayne about the kandra, specifically TenSoon. MeLaan says they figured out a way to die.
  • Ranette gives Wayne a custom made bullet.
  • Wax goes to the Field of Rebirth and stumbles across TenSoon, still in his wolfhound form. TenSoon shows Wax a book that Paalm was reading that has loads of pages ripped out. The pair conclude that she wants to destroy Harmony.
  • There’s a mob outside, and Wayne tries to calm everyone down. They do once a Survivorist priest starts talking. It turns out that the priest is actually a kandra, which is revealed when someone injects him with something.
  • TenSoon asks Harmony to call the other kandra in. They hear a howl, and run. They’re chased by weird creatures, which they have to fight off. Their spikes have red casts.
  • Wayne escapes the mob and goes back to the mansion. He hears someone speaking, and knows that it’s Paalm.
  • Wax and TenSoon escape through the Pits of Hathsin.
  • Wax goes to find the governor in the mansion. It turns out that Paalm is impersonating Innate. Paalm shoots a tonne of guards, and then injects MeLaan with the syringe. Paalm escapes, and Wax gives chase (again) with the custom made bullet. Paalm escapes him again by turning into someone else.
  • MeLaan impersonates the governor so he can give a speech to the angry crowd. Someone helps out by Soothing them as well.
  • Wax catches Paalm, who removes her mask and reveals that she looks like Lessie. She hints that she has been Lessie this whole time. She tells Wax she loves him. Then she shoots him in the leg during a fight, and they fall from the tower.
  • Reddi finds out where the Soothing is coming from, and the group goes towards it. Marasi finds a Soother and a Rioter in a carriage. Marasi makes the Soother Soothe the crowd.
  • Aradel arrests Innate, finally.
  • Paalm asks Wax to stop working with Harmony. Wax shoots her with the custom made bullet, which contains Wax’s earring. This allows Harmony to speak to Paalm again. Wax realises that she really is Lessie. Paalm dies.
  • TenSoon tells Wax that Lessie was sent by Harmony to watch over Wax. Wax is a bit unhappy with Harmony to say the least.
  • There’s a celebration for everyone because they saved the city. Wax is very upset. Marasi shows Wax the spike that was in Paalm’s body. It has red spots, and it’s a strange kind of metal.
  • MeLaan plans to fake Innate’s death so she won’t have to go to trial.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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